The outbreak of COVID-19 saw the brand’s only brick-and-mortar retailer in Singapore and 31 retail spots in the Middle East shuttered due to city-wide lockdowns.
At first, founder Nerissa Low admitted to being anxious on how the effects of disease would impact the brand.
“Initially, we were afraid that with all these pay cuts and worries, the COVID-19 situation would affect our cosmetic sales. Especially since we are considered somewhere between masstige and prestige depending on the different markets.”
At the start of the outbreak, Low told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the brand, which was launched in 2019, effectively went into a hiatus and delayed its international expansion plans.
The company took the time to strengthen its backend to prepare for the inevitable consumer shift to online.
“We made it easier to filter and find products and added a couple of plug-ins to make the user experience better. We added a live chat function and added a plug-in to help people find their foundation shade… We also worked to get our loyalty program up,” said Low.
The effort taken to enhance the usability of the website paid off quickly as online sales skyrocketed 300% for the brand.
“I believe this is partly because we beefed up the backend quite a bit. It just made the whole online experience better for people,” said Low.
Healthy beauty focus
Low also credits the surge in sales to the consumer’s focus on health during the pandemic.
“This whole situation has forced people to stay at home and reflect on the things they are using. People are now focused on building up their immunity. I think people will no longer just buy 20 cheap lipsticks; they will choose the product that is more focused on their health.”
Since the outbreak, the company has also received more consumer enquiries about their products and the ingredients that they use.
“It just shows the level of care they are putting into themselves these days,” said Low.
The company does not see this trend slowing anytime soon.
“Before COVID-19, there was already a steady increase, around 20% to 30%, of consumers choosing organic. I think it’s a big wake-up call for everybody,” said Low.
As such, the firm is pushing forward on its expansion plans, beginning with the Middle East, where there’s a growing demand for clean make-up.
“Middle Eastern women really care about quality and they wear make-up all the time, even at home when they are cooking. When you wear something all-day, naturally you want to use something that can improve the skin,” said Low.
First, the company plans to move forward with the deals it had previously won in the Middle East.
“It was a bit of a waste because we had a lot of contracts signed in the Middle East and we weren’t able to launch because of COVID-19. I don’t see it as a loss, just a delay. We are also in the midst of closing a deal with Dubai duty-free,” said Low.
The company is also aiming to launch in China via Tmall Global and looking to break into the Indian market with the help of a partner that distributes products on top e-commerce platforms such as Amazon India and Nykaa.